Letter: BOA must stop giving gifts to developers

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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BOA must stop giving gifts to developers

To the Editors:

Shelton needs smart development that brings good paying jobs and accessible housing while protecting the open space and trails system that Shelton residents take so much pride in. Shelton does not need more retail stores or “luxury” apartment buildings. This is the sentiment I hear from numerous residents throughout the 3rd Ward, and it is one that I wholeheartedly agree with.

As your next Alderman from the Long Hill School district, I intend to bring a level of oversight that currently does not exist on our Board of Aldermen. The need for additional oversight is clear when looking at 3 BOA decisions that were made this past term:

1) The approval of $25,000 for another taxpayer subsidized study of the proposed “Shelter Ridge” development off Mill Street, attempting to undermine the findings of several local land use engineers who had already advised against the proposal because it fails to protect surrounding properties and wildlife.

2) The approval of the sale of City-owned land at 125 Canal St. for $4,000 when a developer was willing to purchase 113 through 125 Canal St. for a much higher price of $250,000.

3) The approval of the sale of City-owned property at 267 Canal St. to the same developer who had failed to pay taxes on the property years prior, leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of thousands in unpaid back-taxes.

Had I served this past term I would have voted a resounding no on all three of these proposals because they are good for developers but bad for Shelton. Unfortunately, both of the current 3rd Ward Aldermen voted “yes” each time, handing developers in Shelton two sweetheart deals to build more “luxury” apartments. They also funded an additional study in an attempt to undermine the findings of numerous engineers who found the Shelter Ridge development to be poorly planned and detrimental to surrounding properties and wildlife.

The Shelter Ridge development is one that is uniquely personal for me. As a kid, I spent many hours walking the Far Mill River Trail and have always treated that beautiful area like my own. When developing Shelton we must be realistic about the effect such development will have on traffic and open space and ask developers to implement improvements to protect our residents’ quality of life. The ongoing failure to ask more of developers when developing land in Shelton is poor planning on the part of City officials and will cost taxpayers millions to resolve in the long run.

It's time for new leadership and a fresh perspective at City Hall. We deserve elected officials who will work to meet the needs of the people who elected them - not the financial needs of developers. As your next Alderman I will always put your quality of life interests first and foremost when assessing any sale of City-owned land and any further development in Shelton. That is my promise to you.

Matt McGee

Democratic, Envision Shelton Candidate for BOA, Ward 3